SHG warns of ‘Armageddon’ and house party ‘boom’ if lockdown is tightened as Covid infection rates rise

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The Scottish Hospitality Group (SHG) has warned of a house party ‘boom’ and ‘Armageddon’ for the sector if lockdown restrictions are tightened. The body, whose members employ more than 6,000 people, said such measures would see many pubs, restaurants and hotels closing for good.

SHG spokesman Stephen Montgomery, who runs two hotels in Dumfries, said, “Scotland’s bars and restaurants are a vital part of the fight against the spread of Covid. If we are locked down or the restrictions on us are tightened, it will simply drive more people to socialise at home, with the inevitable increases in covid that will follow. Unlike in bars and restaurants, where there is track and trace, social distancing, personal protective equipment and strict hygiene rules, if you go to a house party, you’re just playing covid Russian roulette.”

Buzzworks Holdings managing director Kenny Blair (pictured) added, “Publicans and restaurateurs have followed Scottish Government guidance to the letter. We are a vital part of the solution to combatting Covid.

“We’re the only safe place people can socialise, and the figures from SHG members – over 1.8million customers served since July, with only 17 confirmed cases – show that the Government’s own measures are working really effectively.

“However, the clear feedback we are getting from many in our industry right across the country is that they are only just managing to stay afloat. If we have further restrictions imposed or, God forbid, another lockdown, it will be Armageddon for a sector which employs more young Scots people than any other.”

Professor Jason Leitch, national clinical director, has said that a two-week “circuit-breaker” lockdown could help Scotland reduce Covid-19 infection rates by getting the R number down and buy the country 28 days in the pandemic.  Another 758 positive cases were confirmed on Sunday and the numbers of Covid patients in hospital and those being treated in intensive care is also rising.

Scottish Hospitality Group members include The DRG Group, Buzzworks Holdings, Signature Pubs, Montpeliers, Manorview Group, Lisini Pub Co, Caledonia Inns, G1 Group, Siberia Bar & Hotel, Mor-Rioghain Group, and Caledonian Heritable.

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